Leave Management - why is it important?
Whilst easy to overlook, leave management is a fundamental HR process which can consume a small but significant portion of both HR, managerial, and even employee time; research shows that poor leave management can even negatively impact on business performance - whether as a result of insufficient staff levels to meet project deadlines or even degradation of employee morale leading to a sub-optimal working environment.
Please see our round-up below of the most important business issues, directly relating to staff leave planning:
Compliance with company leave policy
HR are responsible for ensuring compliance with company leave policy - for example, has an employee booked a minimum of a 2-week break in their year or have they used up all of their leave too early in the year?
An effective leave management system should show how much leave an employee has used for each leave type in a given period, either individually or by team, department, or even for a whole company.
Addtionally, it should be configurable to flag alerts for conditions such as "no leave booked in a quarter" - excessive leave accrual is not just a problem in regard to mainintaining adequate staff levels throughout the year, but may also lead to an employee becoming overly fatigued and stressed; bad for the employee's well-being and consequently damaging to productivity.
See the legal requirements at GOV.UK: Statutory leave entitlement
Maintaining sufficient staff levels
What can management do to ensure they have have sufficient staffing for their company to meet project delivery deadlines?
Many employees tend to take leave during the traditional seasons so monitoring leave trends through reporting is critical; it's these metrics that help inform senior management when planning commital to project delivery dates.
And, of course, as crucial project deadlines are nearing, leave should be approved prudently.
To put it simply, employees with high levels of morale are happy employees - and happy employees are more productive and enagaged, helping their firms to outperform their competition. Clearly, then, morale is a significant business priority.
Negative morale may also have a longer term effect on work-place environment and even staff attrition, jeopardising stability and business continuity.
Avoiding unecessary issues with employees being denied leave is an easy win for positive morale; are there managers who are excessively rejecting leave requests? Are some employees not taking enough leave? Careful monitoring and reporting is key.
Accrued leave can be a financial liability for an organization - paid leave requiring reimbursment at the time an employee might leaves a company could be avoided by ensuring employees take enough leave at appropriate times throughout their employment; again, its vitally important for an HR department to have the ability to regulatly report leave accrual to senior management.
Non-attendance, or absenteeism, clearly has a cost overhead for an organisation but an effective leave management system should allow that cost to be measured. Its also vitally important to consider that unscheduled days off (and the consequent financial cost) may potentially be reduced by ensuring employees take leave - it underpins their work-life balance which, in-turn, reduces stress.